Chronicle of a Stem Cell Transplant (and on through to the other side)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pulling the Plug

...on SGN-35.

To my surprise, I am not going in for infusion #13 today as planned. Yesterday, I saw my oncologist and after more careful review of my scans and a recent chest x-ray, consensus is that the SGN-35 is no longer keeping the Hodgkin's adequately contained.

While I knew this would be coming sooner or later, I am disappointed that I will not be able to continue a little longer. It might sound weird, but after so many drugs, I've started to anthropomorphize them based on my positive and negative experiences.

For example, my foes have included Prednisone playing Norman Bates in "Psycho"; ABVD as Hannibal Lector; and MGCD 0103 as Linda Blair in "The Exorcist."

On the other hand, Vinblastine, Gemcitabine and SGN-35 have shared the role of Roberto Benigni in "Life is Beautiful" so it is difficult when the time comes for these drugs to take their exit.

Instead, once again, a casting call is out for the lead role. First up is a drug called Bendamustine, which is normally used for leukemia and other lymphomas but has, in a small number of cases, shown results with heavily-treated Hodgkin's.

The difficulty is that Bendamustine is not yet approved for use in Canada. So, we are waiting to see if we can get the drug quickly through the Special Access Protocol. The next challenge is whether the BC Cancer Agency will administer and pay for it. It is $8000 a dose and the infusions are three weeks apart.

What can I say - to be continued, I guess.